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Checkers Recap: Charlotte Squeezes Out 1-0 Win over Bridgeport

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Alex Nedeljkovic was perfect in Tuesday night’s game against Bridgeport.

Jacob Kupferman/Charlotte Checkers

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Checkers have strung back-to-back wins together with a 1-0 win Tuesday over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on 1950s Night. Alex Nedeljkovic lead the way with a 19-save shutout. The shutout is Nedeljkovic’s second of the season.

Early in the first period, the game was primarily played in the neutral zone and cycling the puck in each team’s offensive zone without generating much offense. Dennis Robertson was sent to the box just a few minute in but the Checkers were able to kill it. Bridgeport exchanged a power play shortly after when a Checkers forward was taken down on a breakaway. Charlotte was able to get a few shots on goalie Chris Gibson but was not able to capitalize with the man advantage.

Around the ten minute mark of the first, Aleksi Saarela fired a floating backhand shot past Gibson to give Charlotte the early lead. Martin Necas earned the lone assist on the goal. The Checkers came alive after the Saarela goal and fired a few more chances off Gibson. They were awarded a power play opportunity later in the period but could not capitalize again.

In the second, Charlotte was granted an early power play opportunity but could not find the back of the net. The Checkers power play has struggled through the early part of the six-game home-stand. Checkers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic had to stay sharp through the second period with Bridgeport pushing hard for the tying goal. His pads stayed quick and were able to keep the equalizer out. He received some help from right winger Nick Schilkey when the forward spotted the puck hanging out in front of Nedeljkovic and flipped it out of the zone after a scramble in front of the Charlotte net.

Neither Charlotte nor Bridgeport scored to change the first period results, so the game remained 1-0 after two periods.

A power play late in the second carried over into the third for the Checkers but they were unable to score. Just seconds after the play went to even strength, the Checkers committed a penalty themselves that they were able to kill off. Patrick Brown and Cliff Pu sprung out of the defensive zone for a 2-on-1 shorthanded chance but Gibson made a huge sliding save to keep Bridgeport within one.

The Sound Tigers pushed hard through most of the third but were not able to generate many shots on Nedeljkovic. The Sound Tigers pulled Gibson with a little over two minutes to play. Around the 1:30 mark, Bridgeport fired a flurry of shots on net but defenseman Roland McKeown dove in front of the crease to keep the game at 1-0.

After a few defensive zone faceoffs, Charlotte was able to wind the clock down and hold on for the win.

The Checkers and Sound Tigers will play again on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Charlotte will wrap up their homestand with a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies on Saturday and Sunday.

Game Notes

  • The Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers both had scouts at Tuesday’s game.
  • The Flyers scout spoke highly about Martin Necas and said he was impressed with his World Junior Championships performance this season. He also expressed his concern with Nedeljkovic’s size which may not translate well at the NHL level with the way the league is headed.
  • The Checkers said they sold over 6000 hot dogs at last year’s 50s Night. It remains to be seen how many they sold at Tuesday night’s game. #HotDogWatch